Sunday, September 20, 2015

Pit Bull Blends and Stupid People

     Being the parents and alleged owner of a pit bull or pit bull blend dog is simply fantastic, at least for Val and I, and Harold has fit in wonderfully after Walker Evans died about 3 1/2 years ago. Indeed, we just celebrated Harold's 3-year adoption anniversary after the folks at the City of Buffalo Animal Shelter rescued and returned him to health.

     But you know from the start that you will be on the receiving end of many unsolicited, unwanted and absolutely uninformed comments about your dog such as Harold in specific as well as the breed overall. We have all heard way too may times about how pit bulls' jaws lock (they don't), how they are both natural and trained killers with no compunction (sounds more like hype for Shark Week on television and obviously untrue), and how you can't leave them alone for a moment with children and they were never bred to be near them (pit bulls have a documented history of being loving family and children's pets).

     But no matter how hard we pit bull people and dog professionals (shelter workers, trainers, veterinarians, rescuers, etc.) work to bring sanity and reality to the conversation and deflate ignorance, situations arise where no matter how hard we try, stupidity and fear seem to prevail.

Most animal aggressive? Me?
     Harold and I went on a long early-afternoon walk Sunday, September 20; as we came within about 3 blocks of home, a woman on her bicycle behind us asked me what breed he was; she thought he looked like a pit bull-boxer blend. I told her that Harold was a pit bull-Cane Corso mastiff blend. She said that she thought she could see some of it in his nose, and asked if I thought that the mastiff in Harold was why he was so calm and not as uptight and frazzled like a pure pit bull. I got a quizzical look on my face and said no, I didn't believe so, and that put bulls were not necessarily more uptight or harder to control than any other dog. I added that after Harold had been adopted from the Buffalo Animal Shelter, that he had been to obedience training and goes to day care once a week at K9 Connection on Niagara Street, and that the people there do a great job.

     "Oh, come on; you know that rescue pit bulls are by far the most animal-aggressive dogs there are. I mean, the woman who does my hair just told me today that her dog got badly bit by a pit bull," the woman then said. "I think that every rescue pit bull, without exception, should go through obedience training before they are adopted, if they are to be adopted." I heartily disagreed, pointing out that study after study indicated that many other breeds were more violence-prone, while none to my knowledge are in any dangerous attack rating problem. She disputed this, and I replied that I could cite her studies and testimony from dog rescuers, trainers, veterinarians and other professionals that showed pit bulls weer not the dangerous dog she was making them out to be.

     When I pointed out that some studies shows that daschunds and chihuahuas were among the dogs involved in most bite incidents with peoples and it didn't make them inherently dangerous, threatening animals, she laughed and said that obviously a dog bite from a daschund or chihuahua couldn't penetrate or hurt like a pit bull or other large dog. I said that the teeth were just as hard and their jaws could bite pretty hard and to ask someone bit by a small dog how much less it apparently hurt. She laughed, said she would rather be bitten by a chihuahua any day and rode away.

     All of this time, Harold sat there quietly, sniffing some vegetation along a fence line and looking up at me occasionally. Proof in the pudding.

     Most people know Val and I will stand up for ourselves and those we love, obviously including Harold, and try to continue to disprove the unsubstantiated, baseless bad information and
cliches too many people spread about pit bulls and other dogs.